ANCHORAGE — State Historic Preservation Officer Judy Bitter welcomes the announcement that the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis, a ship that served many years in Alaska waters, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
“For more than 50 years, the Storis was involved in icebreaking, search and rescue, law enforcement, and medical and disaster relief services in the North Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea — some of the roughest seas in the world,“ Bittner said.
The Storis was added to the National Register — the nation’s catalog of more than 85,000 historic properties worthy of preservation — on Dec. 31, 2012. The Office of History and Archaeology endorsed listing the vessel.
Built in Ohio and commissioned in 1942, the Storis guarded waters around Greenland and provided convoy escort services for protection against German U-boats during World War II. After its transfer to Juneau in 1948, the vessel provided medical and judicial services to western Alaska villages and assisted with the transport of people and supplies for construction of the Distant Early Warning radar stations (DEW Line). In 1957, the Storis and two smaller Coast Guard cutters made a 67-day transit of the Northwest Passage, charting waters and collecting oceanographic information. With this trip, the Storis became the first American ship to circumnavigate the North American continent.
The Storis spent the ensuing 49 years based in Kodiak. In 1992, it made a historic goodwill port call at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, making it the first foreign military vessel to visit since 1854, when the British and French attempted to seize the port during the Crimean War. The Storis had cameo appearances in the television series Deadliest Catch and the 2008 film The Guardian.
In 2007, the Storis was decommissioned and put in floating storage in California. A non-profit Juneau-based group, Storis Museum, is working to bring the ship back to Alaska for preservation and use as a historic museum ship and training and educational vessel. (Information on the Storis Museum group is at www.storismuseum.org.)
For information regarding listing an Alaska property in the National Register, please contact the Office of History and Archaeology, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, located at 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1310, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3565, or call 907-269-8721.